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Pinterest Ads' New Challenger Identity is Working

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Pinterest is one of the first places we look for fashion ideas, new recipes, design trends, or ways to decorate for a kid's birthday party. But beyond flipping through boards for inspo, how viable is it for brands looking to move the needle?

screenshot of Pinterest app on tablet

Pinterest Ads is a thing?

Up until recently, the answer has been: "Yes, kind of..." Pinterest’s ARPU (average revenue per user) stands at only $1.96 versus Meta's $10.86, and advertising spending from brands has trailed the other social nets. With 463 million monthly active users globally, and 87 million U.S., it feels like Pinterest is struggling to capture its share of ad revenue.

However, everything could change with a new strategy.

Pinterest has been hard at work over the last quarter, crafting a compelling "challenger" position to take on the likes of TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook -- and they're not holding back.

Pinterest CEO Bill Ready has called out social media as "the new big tobacco," accusing their (faster growing) competitors of utilizing AI in a destructive way, leaving the world "more distracted, more depressed, and more divided."

It's an interesting approach, given Pinterest is a social platform itself, but it speaks to the company's dedication to creating a different kind of experience from its rivals -- one that is built around self-expression and discovery.

A new attitude

In a campaign last year, Pinterest championed the concept "Don't Don't Yourself" to encourage people to break out of their existing habits and routines.

This shift to positivity and optimism presents an excellent opportunity for brands looking to associate themselves with inspiration.

Social Commerce

The second strategic move Pinterest is taking is leaning heavily into social commerce. The platform wants to make every pin—including video—shoppable for the consumer.

Pinterest also hopes to deepen engagement through more personalized content and product recommendations and launched a feature in Q4 that automatically increases ad load when a user demonstrates purchase intent, allowing Pinterest to serve more relevant ads at key points in the customer journey.

Data Privacy

And finally, Pinterest announced a partnership with LiveRamp to deploy data clean rooms, which will allow marketers to safely use first-party data for targeted ads without needing to re-share that information with the social platform. This is huge, especially in light of Meta's massive data privacy fine and more data privacy restrictions still to come.

As advertisers, we find Pinterest's new position in the market very compelling. It's tough to tell if these initiatives will be powerful enough to elevate Pinterest to the upper echelon of social. But for now, it should be a sign to brands to explore new marketing options and consider Pinterest a real contender.

This article originally appeared in our weekly Paid Media Insights newsletter. For the most up-to-date news and tips to improve your media strategy, subscribe for free here.

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